Companies need not start from "zero" when entering new online markets. In fact, most of the digital marketing and website best practices that work for Western e-commerce sites work in overseas markets.
We recently spoke with Kevin Tarvin, a Global Online Strategist with our Global Growth team, on the subject. He provided several ways expanding companies can reduce their global marketing time, effort and costs by adapting existing customer engagement tactics for consumers in emerging markets.
Translate Social Posts
"We've known for 10 years that social media is a crucial way for brands to communicate with their customers," Kevin points out. "But sometimes that communication gets lost in translation-or downright lost-as brands expand their international presence."
To mitigate this risk, some social networks provide clever ways to manage social content across many global markets. Several MotionPoint clients leverage Global Facebook pages for this very purpose. Such functionality empowers brands to provide localized content for customers all over the world.
"Even still, staying on message in multiple markets can be a big challenge for companies," Kevin says. "But armed with smart technology and a deep knowledge of local cultures and consumers, brands can overcome this longstanding issue. Or you can tap a vendor with this kind of expertise."
Staying on message in multiple markets can be a big challenge for companies.
MotionPoint's Translation and Global Growth teams often collaborate to help clients create localized social media content for their various markets. We've helped a UK-based online fashion retailer engage Japanese consumers via the brand's Japanese Facebook page. Since its launch late last year, this approach has generated hundreds of Japanese user comments and visitor posts, thousands of Likes on localized posts, and even more views.
Another example: We helped a fashion brand launch a Dutch e-commerce website last year, and recommended the company leverage its Global Facebook page to announce the news to its audience in the Netherlands and other European markets.
Through a targeted, in-language social media advertising campaign, the company drove more than 20,000 users to the newly-launched site, which contributed to over 100,000 users visiting the Dutch site within its first month of operation.
Localize On-Site Elements
"Driving traffic to your international website via social campaigns is only one part of the puzzle," Kevin says. "The real question is: once those global customers arrive at your localized website, will they buy what you're selling? That all depends on if they trust your brand."
Indeed, being a fresh-faced player in a new global market can be a short-term challenge for your company-particularly if you're a relative latecomer to a competitive market. Warning signs that your global site isn't wooing local consumers include: high bounce rates, lower than average engagement metrics, and abandoned shopping carts.
But there's at least one clever, elegant solution to this issue. The best part: you're already using this tactic on your primary-market website.
Being a fresh-faced player in a new global market can be a short-term challenge for your company.
"Simply replacing some of your primary-market site's existing banner images with localized versions that tout your brand's trustworthiness can make a big difference in boosting conversions," Kevin says. "The same goes for promoting current discounts or special offers for consumers in these specific markets."
Proactively addressing these concerns helps your company sidestep consumer skepticism, we've found. MotionPoint provides this kind of localization service for clients; we call it Market Manager.
MotionPoint recently used Market Manager to help a retail client overcome this credibility gap. The company entered a new global market, but consumers there had never heard of the retailer. MotionPoint conducted an A/B test, displaying custom localized banners for some of the local consumers.
"These banners appeared in the checkout funnel, and used verbiage that illustrated the UK brand's credibility," Kevin explains. "The banners also addressed any perceived transactional risk, another big issue for these new customers."
In less than a week, this trust messaging increased checkout rates by a whopping 27%, driving monthly incremental revenue of nearly £2,000,000.
Support Local Payment Methods
We recently covered this subject in depth, but it bears repeating: integrating local currencies—and locally-preferred payment platforms in particular—does more than signal trust among your new global customers. It wildly improves average order values, conversion and sales.
"It's definitely a best practice to display all available payment option badges on your global sites," Kevin advises. "Most companies tend to place them in the footer of their sites. Customers look for those badges; it helps them quickly identify what choices they have before going through the checkout process. But if they don't see their preferred platform, they usually won't transact."
We regularly remind clients of this, and help them engage consumers through savvy payment platform support. One MotionPoint client active in France and Germany recently completed a redesign of its French and German sites. After observing lackluster results in those markets, the client contacted us to find ways to help improve their conversion rates.
Local payment methods were quickly diagnosed as a likely conversion rate optimization opportunity. The client had displayed some payment options, but neglected other ones particular to Germany and France. Once those platforms were supported, the business performance of the sites began to soar once more.
French conversion rates improved by 136%, while German conversion rates jumped up by 266%. The improvement in conversion rates led to a 511% increase in daily revenue for France, and a staggering 1,533% for Germany.
In another instance, at our suggestion, one of our clients integrated support for the e-wallet platform Alipay into its e-commerce site serving the Chinese market. (Alipay is the region's dominant e-wallet payment platform.) It was the right call. Conversions and revenue both grew by over 210%. Average order size grew by 33%, too.
Integrating local currencies wildly improves average order values, conversion and sales.
Get Local Bona Fides
Just as customers in your primary market look for certain on-site certifications to minimize anxiety about doing business on your site (such as VeriSign, PayPal Verified, ScanAlert Hacker Safe and others), so too do consumers in global markets. Make sure you're certified in these regionally-appropriate services.
"Consider another MotionPoint client, which launched a site serving German consumers," Kevin says. "Conversions remained low until MotionPoint noticed a critical missing on-site ingredient-an impressum."
An impressum is a legally-mandated statement of ownership that must be included on websites published in Germany. The localized site didn't feature this unique statement, so customers didn't fully trust it. Our client wasn't registered as a German business and therefore didn't actually need an on-site impressum, but we recommended adding one anyway.
"Adding an impressum to the German site radically increased trust among German customers," Kevin reports. "The client's results were immediate and exceptional. Conversion rates went sky-high."
Optimize, Optimize, Optimize
Your company's marketing and online teams take great care to continually update and optimize your primary-market website so it delivers maximum results and ROI. Your global sites should receive the same amount of thoughtful care.
MotionPoint's Global Growth team often provides our clients' global websites with this continuous attention. This eye for detail often generates opportunities for companies to connect with local markets, in authentic ways, on local customers' terms.
“No matter where you live or what language you speak, everyone likes to feel special,” Kevin says, “and the perks your brand can lavish upon your global customers can make all the difference.”
Free shipping is one such tried-and-true perk that supercharges conversions, and usually leads to higher order values.
"Combining such perks with other discounts tied to local holidays can help a brand maximize their impact on sales," Kevin says. "One MotionPoint client great strides in this area with their Korean holiday marketing. Stirring up the hype through an email drip campaign prior to the holiday leads to a spillover effect that loyal customers amplify through social media."
Indeed, this market-specific holiday sale-to celebrate Pepero Day, a day where sweethearts exchange candy-generated jaw-dropping results. Using its email newsletter, and pay-per-click ad spends, the company smartly spread the word about this one-day sale in 2014. That day, traffic grew 360% over the daily average. Transactions grew ten-fold. Average order value grew by nearly 50%.
The client repeated this authentic and resonant campaign in 2015. The holiday's revenue increased by another 30%.